North Carolina (NC) Asbestos Information:
North Carolina, sitting between the Atlantic Ocean and the east slope of the Appalachian Mountains, has numerous chrysotile deposits, concentrated in the western and southwestern regions of the state.
Most of the jobsites in North Carolina at which workers were exposed to asbestos were power plants, of which the state has several. Being located on the Atlantic Coast, the state also has a maritime history, which also includes manufacture of the steel from which sea-going vessels are made.
Asbestos-using industries are to be found in all of the state’s major cities: Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Henderson, High Point, Kinston, Nagshead, New Bern, Pinehurst, Raleigh, Salem, Washington, Wilmington and Winston.
The Danger of Power Plants
In 2003, medical researchers in Puerto Rico performed a study on power plant workers that included a thorough examination of these workers’ chest x-rays. Thirteen percent of these images indicated that the subject in question had some type of respiratory problem, or was starting to develop some kind of respiratory condition.
The Center for Health Statistics has gathered data indicating that workers employed at power generating facilities – including electricians, pipefitters, boilermakers and other repairmen and maintenance personnel – are among those who are at greatest risk for contracting asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis or an asbestos cancer like mesothelioma. Electrical conduits were often wrapped in asbestos insulation, and the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were found in plaster, drywall, and the cement used to construct these facilities. In addition, asbestos is not only a flame retardant but an effective insulator against both heat and electrical current as well. Electric wiring, panel partitions, and electrical cloth were all commonly made with ACM between the years 1930 and 1980.
In fact, much of the machinery in these power plants contained asbestos, so it wasn’t uncommon for fibers to get into the air inside the structures. In addition to the locations mentioned above, friable asbestos fibers might also have come out of boilers, turbines and generators.
The Nucor Corporation started its North Carolina operation in 1966. It was one of the first steel mills to use electric arc furnaces rather than old-fashioned and often inefficient blast furnaces.
Nonetheless, heat and fire danger remained. Because of this, asbestos was used in gaskets and linings as well as ovens, ladles, boilers, and steam pipes.
Ironically, asbestos exposure also resulted from clothing that was designed to protect steelworkers from burns, and included leggings, aprons, overcoats, gloves and masks
Steelworkers in greatest danger from asbestos exposure are pourers and casters, operators, tenders, furnace operators and inspectors, machine setters, millwrights and welders.
A recent study of 4,700 workers at a Maryland Coast Guard facility showed elevated rates of asbestos disease. According to the study, carried out by researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, the difference between these shipyard workers and the general public was “small but significant”.
Wilmington was home to a few shipbuilding companies, including the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and Cardinal Lines. The now defunct New Bern Shipyard was located in Pimlico.
Regardless of where it took place, all ship construction in the U.S. involved the use of asbestos products from around 1935 until 1980. Asbestos insulation was used throughout old turbine steam ships, for pipes and other fittings as well as fireproof doors, and even between decks as a sound deadener.
Between 1980 and 2000, the population of the Tarheel State grew by 2.2 million, representing an increase of around 37%. During that same period, there were just over 1,000 asbestos-related deaths. Mesothelioma victims were slightly more numerous than those with asbestosis, despite the fact that asbestosis is more common; this may be due to the fact that the long-term prognosis for asbestosis is somewhat better than that of mesothelioma, assuming the disease is caught in its early stages.
North Carolina (NC) Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma Doctors:
The diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related cancers and other diseases is gradually becoming a sub-specialty in the field of medicine all its own. However, as of the present time, there is no medical degree that is specific to asbestos-related practice.
Most doctors focusing on asbestos disease today are trained in oncology, thoracic surgery, respiratory or occupational medicine, or some related field.
North Carolina (NC) Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
Today, between 25 and 30% of all Americans will get some form of cancer during their lifetimes. There are many reasons for this, including the modern lifestyle and the poisons that have been put into the environment – of which asbestos is a prime example.
The number of clinics and hospitals that specialize in oncology have increased in response to the growing number of patients.
North Carolina (NC) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
A search through the North Carolina Federal District Court Cases for asbestos-related personal injury product liability lawsuits brings up an extensive list of fifty lawsuits from 2006 and 2007. One of the major defendants listed in these cases is Aqua-Chem Inc. In fact, there are only three cases in which Aqua-Chem Inc. is not the defendant; two of those cases are against The Anchor Packing Company and the other is against 3 M Company.
North Carolina is ranked 15 in the U.S. for malignant mesothelioma cases. With a mesothelioma mortality rate of 9.3 per million, North Carolina has a crude mortality rank of 35 in the country.
A recent asbestos case in North Carolina involved British reinsurer Equitas. The firm agreed to pay $118 million to Charlotte-based manufacturing company EnPro Industries Inc. in a dispute over insurance coverage for asbestos-related claims against EnPro. Most of the money will go into a trust to take care of unresolved asbestos claims, with about $30 million going to reimburse EnPro for payments it has already made on asbestos-related claims. Several EnPro subsidiaries, including Garlock Sealing Technologies and The Anchor Packing Co., manufactured products containing asbestos; as a result, EnPro has been involved in many lawsuits concerning asbestos-related death and injury. Approximately $130 million of EnPro’s insurance for such claims is held by Lloyd’s of London underwriters, and Equitas reinsures the company. All of EnPro’s claims against Lloyd’s were underwriters resolved by the settlement.
A key pro-plaintiff verdict in North Carolina occurred in September, 2004. The case Raymond W. Williams v. CSX Transportation, Inc., involved Raymond Williams, a 60-year-old man who had worked as a railroad employee with CSX Transportation, Inc., for 38 years. In 2002, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a result of working with asbestos products on the job and he and his North Carolina mesothelioma lawyer brought suit against CSX Transportation, Inc. The pro-plaintiff verdict was unanimously upheld by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in March, 2006. Williams was granted a $7.5 million dollar verdict. CSX Transportation, Inc., used asbestos products on construction materials, boilers, and pipes that Williams would have handled as part of his employment. Williams, as a railroad worker, was not eligible for workers compensation and had to file a suit under the Federal Employee’s Liability Act (FELA) to claim injuries. The plaintiff was also responsible for proving that it was the railroad’s negligence that led to the injuries. The jury in the case found CSX knew of the dangers of asbestos dust beginning in the 1930s and also knew about precautions that could be taken to protect railroad workers from asbestos dust. The jury determined that the railroad opted not to protect or warn their employees until sometime in the late 1980s, which was for nearly 40 years after they’d learned of asbestos’s dangers. In addition, the jury found that CSX knew in the late 1950s that asbestos could cause lung cancer and in the early 1960s that it could cause mesothelioma, but chose again to take no measures to safeguard employees or warn them about asbestos. In fact, CSX continued to use products containing asbestos until the late 1980s.
Those interested in filing a North Carolina mesothelioma lawsuit should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in North Carolina is three years from act that causes the injury or the discovery of the injury, whichever comes first, but with a maximum of ten years from the date of occurrence. This means that those individuals who contract mesothelioma must hire a North Carolina mesothelioma lawyer and bring suit prior to ten years from proven exposure to asbestos. Wrongful death cases have a two-year statute of limitations. There is no specific statute about asbestos in North Carolina.